IFON AS THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE OLD IFON DIVISION AND THE SEAT OF THE COLONIAL MASTERS BETWEEN 1903 AND 1925.
By: Olaniyi Ezekiel Eni-Olotu
The Old Ifon division was created by the colonial masters in 1903 with Ifon town as the headquarters.
The old Ifon division was composed of many towns such as Owo, the entire Akoko land, Kurukuru and some other towns in the present Edo State.
The colonial masters were based in Ifon, being the seat of government.
The colonial masters had their residential buildings, courts and official quarters in Ifon town.
In 1918, during the reign of Oba Agun, the name of the division was changed from Ifon division to Owo division with the headquarters still at Ifon. The change in the name of the division from Ifon to Owo, was the first major step that the colonial masters took in addressing the agitations of the Akokos towards the relocation of the seat of government from Ifon to a more centralized community that could be easily accessed by the various communities within the division.
While the agitations were going on, our leaders looked the other way and felt very unconcerned. The major preoccupation of our leaders at that time was how to rebel against the reigning Kings in Ifon, get them dethroned over some cooked up allegations and replaced in the twinkling of an eye.
The colonial masters began the gradual relocation of the government offices and their residential quarters from Ifon to Owo.
The last straw that broke the camel's back came in 1925, when the seat of government was finally moved to Owo.
From 1918 to 1925, the colonial masters began the withdrawal of government presence from Ifon with the expectation that our people might resist the planned relocation if hurriedly done. It took the colonial masters seven good years to effectively dot all (I s) and cross all ( T s) in the relocation plan.
The colonial masters plan was to get Ifon town adequately compensated for the loss of the seat of government to Owo, if they had protested against the relocation as anticipated, but that never happened as our highly respected community leaders felt unperturbed while the whole exercise lasted.
Ifon town eventually lost her glory to Owo town in 1925. The then head of a division became a mere appendage of the old Owo division for 64 good years. Ifon thus became one of the towns under Owo and remained so till 1989 with the excision of the present Ose Local Government Area from the old Owo Local Government Area, and the siting of the headquarters in Ifon town.
The lost glory became finally restored in 1989, but it remains a painful thing till this present day, when one considers the consequences of the relocation of the seat of government from our dear homeland to Owo, judging from the magnitude of our losses to Owo for 64 years.
Hon.Olaniyi Eni-Olotu writes from Ifon Omima Kingdom.